What Can I Do With a Biology Degree?
For a long time, I didn't know what I could do with my Biology degree. I thought if I wanted to get a business-focused job, my only options were in banking and finance (which is where a lot of science graduates end up). I really didn’t want to go further in academia, even though I loved my degree. The lab was just not for me. Ideally, I wanted to keep some sort of link to science, so that I could be putting my knowledge from my degree to some use! With a little exploration, I found out that there are actually lots of options for Biology graduates. These didn’t confine me to working for a big bank. They would allow me to apply business skills and still keep me engaged with the science world. Once I discovered these potential paths, I started to get excited about my future prospects.
Here are a few of the career paths I discovered for Biology graduates:
Pure business roles in a science company
This is for you if you don’t want to do any kind of science, but want to work for a science company. In this case, your options are roles like HR, Finance, Procurement or Business Operations. They are the support functions of the company. You could do these kinds of roles at many science-led organisations including Pharma companies, science museums and scientific societies. In these roles, you could be interacting with scientists and learning about scientific research, but not doing it yourself. You will also have an advantage as you will understand the context you are operating in more than others in the same role due to your science background.
More science-y roles in a science company
If you want a non-research role but still want to directly use your scientific knowledge, consider roles that require a mix of science and business skills. These are commonly found in healthcare-driven organisations like Pharmaceutical companies. The functions are often areas like Regulatory or Medical Affairs and Clinical Operations. If you studied Environmental Science modules as part of your Biology degree, you could also consider departments like Environment, Health and Safety. Scientific societies and charities also offer roles related to their membership, interacting with researchers and funding research that could give you a more scientific edge to your role.
Maybe this is an obvious one but it can be a fulfilling path for many who choose it. With a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, you will be able to teach from Primary school level up to A-Level Biology (in the UK). At Primary school level you can teach a wide range of subjects. If you want to teach older years, you are likely to have to specialise in a particular subject. You can usually teach other subjects that you have studied up to A Level. But if you want to keep science at your core, you may want to opt for a STEM subject. These are very much in demand too and often demand a higher pay rate than teachers of other subjects. Remember that if you pursue this path, you will have to do a teaching qualification to do this.
Science Communication is becoming an increasingly popular path for those with a Biology degree, as well as other science graduates. The field offers an exciting mix of roles that can be done in many different organisations, spanning both the public and private sector. Your role could be focused on writing to communicate science through journalism. Or, you could be organising events at a museum to engage the public with scientific news and concepts. You could also work in a more general outreach role. This may be a mixture of writing and event organisation to engage specific groups with science and science careers. Your tasks largely dependent on the organisation you work for, their size, and who their customers are. Look for these roles at scientific publishers, science societies and membership organisations, museums, science-based charities, scientific trusts, universities and private science led companies.
Life Sciences Consulting
Consulting can be a lucrative option that puts you in an advisory position towards science organisations. Your Biology degree gives you a good grounding in scientific knowledge and terminology. You can combine this with demonstrating business skills and commercial acumen to pursue a specialised consulting career. Many graduates often go into general consulting as a high-paid, high prestige option. This is also an option, but you can carve your niche a little more through life sciences consulting in particular. You will be giving strategic advice to science-led companies on their business decisions. This way, you can learn about science industries and develop general business skills. This can also be an option for you later in your career, if you have already worked for one of these organisations and want to turn to giving them strategic business advice instead. Hopefully this list has given you some hope and expanded your options when looking for paths to pursue with your Biology degree. There are many jobs you can do where you can keep a link to science. You can do any of the above roles without further study. Just having your undergraduate degree will give you an advantage when applying for these roles as you have scientific knowledge and understanding.
If you are ready to take your career outside the lab and want to know how to start, watch our webinar on How Science Graduates Can Get a High Paying Job Outside the Lab Even if You Have Little to No Work Experience.